Is It Possible Louisiana Could Soon See Devastating Earthquake?
When the dust settled after the recent research piece was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, the results were staggering, if not outright frightening.
The reality is, according to their findings, nearly seventy-five percent of the United States could experience a damaging earthquake in the next one hundred years.
Over fifty scientists and engineers conducted the latest USGS National Seismic Hazard Model (NSHM). This model was used to create a color-coded map that pinpoints where damaging earthquakes are most likely to occur based on insights from seismic studies, historical geologic data, and the latest data-collection technologies.
Using all the latest tools and technology, the group identified nearly 500 previously unfound faults that could produce a damaging quake, showcasing the evolving landscape of earthquake research.
“This was a massive, multi-year collaborative effort between federal, state and local governments and the private sector,” said Mark Petersen, USGS geophysicist and lead author of the study. “The new seismic hazard model represents a touchstone achievement for enhancing public safety.”
What Were The Key Findings Of The Latest USGS Seismic Hazard Model?
- Risk to People: Nearly 75% of the U.S. could experience potentially damaging earthquakes and intense ground shaking, putting hundreds of millions of people at risk.
- Widespread Hazard: 37 U.S. states have experienced earthquakes exceeding magnitude 5 during the last 200 years, highlighting a long history of seismic activity across this country.
- Structural Implications: The updated model will inform the future of building and structural design, offering critical insights for architects, engineers, and policymakers on how structures are planned and constructed across the U.S.
- Not a Prediction: No one can predict earthquakes. However, by investigating faults and past quakes, scientists can better assess the likelihood of future earthquakes and how intense their shaking might be.
What Did The Study Suggest About A Devastating Earthquake In Louisiana?
After a couple of small earthquakes over the past few weeks near Shreveport in Red River Parish and a growing number of smaller quakes in the East Texas area over the last several years, there is some understandable concern about the possibility of a devastating earthquake here in Louisiana.
According to the findings, those concerns could be well-founded, as the research piece indicates that all of Louisiana and a vast amount of east and north Texas have as much as a 25% chance of a damaging earthquake in the next 100 years.
In fact, one doesn't have to venture too far into southern Arkansas to find the chances of that damaging earthquake to increase to as much as 50%.
While I'm certain this doesn't mean we should rush out to purchase earthquake insurance, it does give us something to consider regarding future construction projects and a chance to prepare for the possibility of a devastating quake long before it might occur.
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Gallery Credit: Chris Cardenas